|Abstract:We have examined the expression and structure of several genes belonging to two classes of vegetative specific genes of the simple eukaryote, Dictyostelium discoideum. In amebae grown on bacteria, deactivation of all vegetative specific genes occurred at the onset of development and very little mRNA exists by 8 to 10 hours. In contrast, when cells were grown in axenic broth, the mRNA levels remained constant until a dramatic drop occurred around 10 to 12 hours. Thus, regulation of both classes of genes during the first several hours of development is dependent upon the prior growth conditions. Analysis of genomic clones has resulted in the identification of two V genes, V1 and V18, as ribosomal protein genes. Several other V genes were not found to be ribosomal protein genes, suggesting that in Dictyostelium non-ribosomal protein genes may be coordinately regulated with the ribosomal protein genes. Finally, using deletion analysis we show that the promoters of two of the V genes are composed of a constitutive positive element(s) located upstream of sequences involved in the regulated expression of these genes and within the first 545 upstream bp for V18 and 850 bp for V14. The regions involved in regulated expression were localized between -7 and -222 for V18 and -70 and -368 for V14. The sequences conferring protein synthesis sensitivity were shown to reside between -502 and -61 of the H4 promoter.